Public summary of dissertation

Communication of research results and findings to people outside of the academic world is very important when it comes to garnering attention for research, as well as for funding applications.

Given the importance of this communication, at the conclusion of their PhD research, the university invites all of its PhD candidates to submit a public summary of their thesis.

Tips for the PhD public summary

So, what is expected when it comes to writing a PhD public summary?

First, the candidate should highlight the societal significance of their work, particularly in the opening sentences of the summary. What effect will this work have on society in the future? Why is it important for healthcare, energy, computing technologies, building infrastructure, etc.…?

Second, it’s critical that the summary is written using language that would make it understandable and readable for a diverse audience. Think of academics in other fields, journalists, people in industry, and of course, your family and friends.

Third, the text should be no longer than 600 words. PhD candidates should not submit the summary from their thesis as their PhD public summary. Invariably this is too long, and it will also be written in a language that is too complicated for the general reader.

Fourth, the PhD public summary should be submitted at least six weeks prior to the defense date. This would provide TU/e’s Science Information Officers, who are based in the Communication Expertise Center (CEC), with enough time to edit the text and to liaise with the PhD candidate on any significant editing that may need to be done to the text.

Finally, in terms of images for the article, the PhD candidates are requested to send two images. First, the PhD candidate is asked to submit their TU/e profile photo. If they do not have a profile photo, the candidate is asked to send a high-resolution profile photo of their choosing. Second, the PhD candidate is asked to submit an interesting image from the thesis. This should not be a graph, a detailed technical schematic, table, or dataset. It could be an illustration, a photograph of laboratory equipment, or a colorful simulation image.

And then to online

Once the PhD public summary has been finalized, CEC will place the PhD summary on the TU/e website, where it will be displayed on the department and group pages of the PhD candidate.

In some cases, the summary may be of interest to the media. In this case, the summary will also be placed on the general news overview, and CEC will approach various media outlets to ascertain if they are interested in covering the research in the news. This could be for newspapers, website articles, radio interviews, or even TV appearances.

Many journalists would like to see the final PhD public summary some weeks before the PhD defense date, so that they have enough time to decide if they want to cover the article for their media outlet. Hence, the importance of submitting the PhD public summary at least six weeks before the PhD defense date.

Submission and further information

A draft of the PhD public summary can be submitted in two different ways. First, you can submit the public summary via the Hora Finita system. Second, you can also send the public summary to The public summary submitted to the Hora Finita system can be the same as the one submitted to the e-mail address.

Additional information on the finalizing steps of PhD courses. and the place of the public summary in it, can be found in the Information brochure on the doctorate regulations.

Links to sample public summaries are provided at the end of this page. Please follow the structure of these examples when writing the PhD public summary.

Finally, PhD candidates are required to include the PhD thesis title, supervisor list, and list of other parties involved in the project (if applicable) at the end of PhD public summary text subject to the following template:

Title of PhD-thesis: [cover title]. Supervisors: [supervisor 1 name, affiliation], [supervisor 2 name, affiliation], etc. Other main parties involved: [names of organizations, delete if N/A]

Examples of previous PhD public summaries


If you have any questions about the process, you can contact TU/e Science Communication Officer, Dr. Barry Fitzgerald (